Definition: Benchmarking is a tool used to measure or compare your work or progress with others who are doing the same thing. Benchmarking is a powerful tool because it overcomes "paradigm blindness"—the mode of thinking that says, "The way we do it is the best because this is the way we've always done it."
Because it is difficult to get a handle on what is going on in other small groups outside of your own (or your own church), SmallGroups.com does live surveys each month on a variety of small-group topics. The purpose of these surveys is to uncover a sense of what is going on in small groups around the world, and particularly in North America.
These surveys are not intended to be a scientific sample of those involved in small groups. And benchmarking—or comparing your small group to other small groups—is not intended to be a substitute for the Holy Spirit's work and guidance in your group. However, knowing what other small groups are doing can be a helpful diagnostic tool and can show what God is up to within the larger small-group movement.
With that in mind, here are some results of SmallGroups.com surveys on the subject of what goes on during typical small-group meetings.
The Small Group Agenda
When asked if your small group strives to live out all the purposes of the church (fellowship, outreach, worship, discipleship, service, and so on), 60 percent of groups were striving to incorporate all the purposes of the church into their gatherings. However, only 36 percent viewed their small group as a "house church."
Seventy-three percent of groups begin their discussion time with an icebreaker question or activity. Seventy-eight percent said, "There is a lot ...